Thursday, 17 July 2014

When Scientists Back The Wrong Horse

Check out @nytimeswell's Tweet '3 Things to Know About Niacin and Heart Health':

  • Recent studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine are adding to concerns about the safety and effectiveness of niacin, a popular drug for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. The studies reveal that although this B vitamin can reduce triglyceride levels, raise “good” cholesterol levels (HDL) and reduce “bad” cholesterol levels (LDL), it does not produce the benefits that patients and their doctors might expect. And the studies are revealing serious harms.

A lack of quality in the original trials is indicative of the wider problems of transparency in medicine..., oh, and follow the money.  You need to remember;

Policies need to be analyzed in terms of the incentives they create, rather than the hopes that inspired them.

The real kicker for me though is this line:
  • "No study is perfect, and for niacin advocates, many of whom have spent their careers promoting and prescribing the drug, the results of the new trials evoked disbelief."

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